Lightning over the Lake

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A bright streak
Flashes across the sky
Lighting up the night
And your eyes

We had an amazing, fairly sudden storm this evening. It had been overcast most of the day but the thunder and lightning still seemed to come without warning. Luckily I was nearly home when it started and so I grabbed my camera and tripod and hurried down to the lake to try to get some shots.

Lightning is tricky to photograph and it took some experimentation – you’d think you’d want to use a high shutter speed to freeze the strike but because lightning is so unpredictable, I find you actually have to go the opposite way and use a slow shutter speed to give yourself more time to capture a good strike. Working out exactly how long though is a bit of trial and error so it can be fiddly and if it’s a short burst, you might not get anything at all.

I really like how this one came out though. It was a 25 second exposure which is about the sweet spot I find, particularly at night. I’ve taken a few lightning shots before but since moving to Belmont I’ve always wanted to get a dramatic one over the lake. I guess that’s one thing I can check off the bucket list now. 😀

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2019

2018 Favourites

With today being the last day of 2018 I thought it’d be fun to post a collection of my favourite photos from the past year. I hope you enjoy them.

2018’s been an interesting year for my photography. I actually didn’t start taking many photos until about April but it’s been pretty much non-stop since.

Part of that’s been that I decided to do a calendar for the end of the year. I thought it would help inspire me to get out and shoot more, which it did. It ended up being a really fun project.

Along with my landscapes I started doing more portraits as well, particularly studio portraits which have been fun and have helped my understanding of flash. I’ll be doing more paid work in 2019 so it’s been good practice for that.

In general I think my photography has improved a lot this year. In particular I’ve refined my editing a lot and I’ve found myself focusing on combining long exposures with movement which has created some really interesting images.

I also won the Lake Macquarie Float Your Boat photo competition and my calendar sold much better than I expected it to – it actually sold out twice and it came together very well in the end.

I also switched to Sony from Olympus midyear which was a bit of a learning curve at first but has worked out really well in the end.

So all in all 2018’s been a pretty productive year. I’m looking forward to seeing what 2019 will bring. 🙂

Happy New Year! Hope it’s a good one for you.

Belmont Baths and Jetty

The new Belmont baths and jetty opened on Saturday. The old finger jetty was destroyed by a severe storm several years ago and the council used the opportunity to design a new one and reopen the community baths as well.

I live in Belmont so I’ve been watching the construction closely over the last few months and I popped along on Saturday to have a look now it’s all finished.

I quite like them. The jetty is fantasic and the baths look like they’ll be great on a hot day and they’re an interesting design. I was a little surprised by the boundary posts though; I thought there would be more connecting them than the shark nets but I guessmaybe that would have ruined the view.

I went back for a proper photowalk on Sunday to explore some more and catch the sunset. I like how the shots came out and the different views of the baths and jetty and the lake. They’re definitely interesting to photograph, I think it’ll be an interesting area to go back to every now and then.

Photos © CJ Levinson 2018

Lake Macquarie and Newcastle 2019 Calendar

Lake Macquarie and Newcastle 2019 Calendar (digital)

Just a quick note. I’ve spent the last couple of months working on incorporating a store into the site and it’s live now if anyone wants to check it out.

I’ve had a small store on Etsy previously but I think it makes more sense to incorporate it into the site. And cheaper too.

All the photos are digital files so they can be printed at home or through a print shop or used as wallpaper, etc. They’re $12 each.

I’ve also just finished making a calendar for 2019 which is on the store now too!

The calendar features 12 of my favourite photos from around Lake Macquarie and Newcastle, including some that I’ve never posted before.

It was a lot of fun to make and I really wanted the calendar to capture the spirit and beauty of Lake Macquarie and Newcastle and I really like how it came out.

If you’re interested you can order it here. There’s also a digital version which avoids postage costs.

I hope you like it. 🙂

Towards the Belmont 16s

16s at Night

At night 
The world seems so different
Like a mirror’s
Dark reflection

I went down to the lake earlier tonight to try to get a photo of the moon. It was a beautiful golden crescent and I thought it would make for a really great shot suspended just above the yachts. Well I failed miserably at that – I think I was probably using the wrong lens and it just didn’t seem to work.

So I decided to try something else and took this long exposure looking towards the Belmont 16s instead. It ended up being a 120 second exposure which meant a lot of waiting but it turned out well and better than the original idea I had. Photography can be funny like that, often it’s the shot you weren’t thinking of that turns out the best.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018

Boats on the Belmont Foreshore

Grey skies
And deep waters
Hold many secrets
But I keep none from you

Just a simple shot from a few weeks ago. It feels very calm and peaceful and I really like how the colours contrast with the grey water and sky.

I gave it a bit of a subtle, vintage-style edit as well. I like it, it reminds me a little of the Kodak film I used to shoot with years ago.

Photo and haiqua © CJ Levinson 2018

Through the Grass

Through the Grass

“Photography takes an instant out of time, altering life by holding it still.”
—Dorothea Lange

I took this shot on the weekend near the 16s in Belmont. It was just before sunset and I really liked the way the light was reflecting off the water and falling on the grass. There was a nice breeze too and the whole scene felt very warm and peaceful.

In editing it I wanted the photo to have a bit of a vintage, filmic feel as I thought it really leant itself to that style and my landscapes seem to have been moving more towards that lately. I guess it’s normal for our tastes to change and I feel a bit nostalgic for film as well sometimes. Maybe I’ll have to pick up a film camera second-hand to play with.

Photo © CJ Levinson 2018